Effects of housing density on nasal pathology of breeding mice housed in individually ventilated cages

Louis DiVincenti, Diane Moorman-White, Nikolay Bavlov, Michael Garner, Jeff Wyatt
Lab Animal 2012, 41 (3): 68-76
The 2011 edition of the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals includes new recommendations for the amount of floor space that should be provided to breeding mice. When pairs or trios of continuously breeding mice are housed in shoebox cages, they may have less than this recommended amount of floor space. High housing densities may adversely affect animal health, for example, by compromising air quality inside the cage. Hence, some institutions are carefully reevaluating the microenvironments of breeding cages. The use of individually ventilated cages (IVCs) to house research mice allows for greater control over the quality of the cage microenvironment. The authors evaluated the microenvironments of shoebox cages in an IVC rack system housing breeding and non-breeding Swiss Webster mice. Ammonia concentrations were significantly higher in cages housing breeding trios with two litters. Histopathologic lesions attributable to inhaled irritants such as ammonia were found in mice housed in breeding pairs and trios. The authors conclude that the microenvironments of cages in an IVC rack system housing breeding pairs and trios may be detrimental to animal health.

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